RAIN, the curse of drag racing, struck again when race organisers were forced to cancel Day Two of the Brisbane Jamboree at Willowbank. After a terrific day of qualifying, it was really shaping up for some great racing until the rain arrived. must feel sorry for the teams that travelled around the country, New Zealand and the US who came to race at the biggest event of its type outside North America.
For Ben and his tuner Justin Simpson, it was really frustrating. They had a great car and set an Australian ET and speed record for 1FZ-powered cars during qualifying.
I was out there all day on the Saturday and had a great time wandering around catching up with people and seeing some terrific racing. You gotta feel sorry for Col Willshire and Ray Box who run the event. They do a fantastic job, and outside of the Winternationals, the Jamboree would be one of the best-presented race meetings anywhere in the country.
Straight after the event there were several teams getting ready to ship their cars to Florida for the World Sports Compact Challenge. Rod Harvey is taking his Toyota, Archie Kajewski his Mazda, Scott Porter his Nissan, and Col Willshire is taking his Mitsubishi and Datsun ute that will be driven by Kelly Bettes. Ben and my grandson Jackson are planning to go over to crew on Rod Harvey’s car, so let’s wish them all well. Ben wants to race at the event sometime in the future, but not until he has the Solara properly sorted.
At the Jamboree the car ran over 350km/h, which was a real eye-opener. The main priority is to get the car quicker to half-track. At the moment they are running around 35lb of boost, and the long-term plan is to get it up to around 100lb. While most people get to hear how Rapisarda Autosport International and Shane Tucker are going in the NHRA series, it’s good to see onetime Queenslander Steve Easton going well in America. He kicked arse and took a win in Pro Mod at Dragway 42 in Ohio. He’s a good guy, knows how to steer a ’Slammer, and just needs a few dollars and some luck to crack the big time in America.
The other Aussie kicking goals in the NHRA is Dave Grubnic, who tunes the Clay Millican Top Fuel car. When ‘Grubby’ was driving for Kalitta Motorsport he also had a lot of input into the tune-up, so his results this year – including two wins and seven times top qualifier – shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Speaking of Aussies abroad, take a look at the Richie Crampton ’57 Chevy wagon he entered for the 2018 Hot Rod Drag Week with his mate, Swedish Funny Car racer Jonnie Lindberg. It’s an amazing car. They were running a supercharged Hemi made up from parts off Lindberg’s championship-winning Top Alcohol Funny Car, complete with Noonan Race Engineering water block. Lindberg also put the clutch and manual Lenco transmission from his Funny Car into the Chev, which runs on E85 on the road then switches to methanol on the race track. The part that impressed me the most was where they had fitted a throttlebody to one of the burst panel openings, removed the belt off the PSI supercharger and locked it from turning so they could do the street miles to keep within the rules of Drag Week. When you get to the track, throw the belt back on and swap the E85 for methanol, and voila – 3500hp! Amazing. can’t wait to catch up with Richie to get all the tech info on exactly how they did it.
I love the Drag Week concept, and Ben and I are keen to have a go at Street Machine’s own Drag Challenge. It’s definitely on the bucket list.
There are a few alarm bells ringing for the PDRA in America. Car counts are down – well down. Big names like Frankie Taylor, who drove Team Bray for last season, and the likes of Mike Janis and Jason Scruggs, along with many other front-runners, are not racing as much in the series. Something that’s been so good for so long is in real strife. I think once they had to drop Pro Extreme from the calendar the alarm bells started ringing. I don’t know what the answer is. I suspect there is too much politics involved – sound familiar?
I'll give you an example. Once they would put the results up on the dedicated results website, Drag Race Central, along with NHRA and IHRA results; it included round-by-round comments and increments of every run. Nowadays, they just photocopy the results sheets and post that. It looks blurry, is hard to read and has no increments or commentary. Statistics are what drag fans love to see. My suggestion is: At the very least, get a bloody decent photocopy machine!
So where have all the cars gone? Yep, to the NHRA Mello Yello series, where the category is booming. You just need to look at the US Nationals, where they had 30 entries.
Last month we were down at the AgQuip agriculture equipment show in Gunnedah, about 620km south of Brisbane, for Gulf Western. It’s the biggest agricultural show in Australia, with around 100,000 visitors. It’s spread over nearly 50 hectares, and has about 3000 exhibitors and displays over the three days. It’s like the PRI show in Indianapolis, but for agriculture.
The innovation in the world of agriculture is mind-boggling and the use of drone technology is unbelievable. I’ve been a farmer for over 45 years and couldn’t believe my eyes. They have drones that spray fields. Firstly they set up the parameters and can actually target a specific weed; then the drone identifies the targeted weed, drops down and sprays it, and then repeats the process with the next weed. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. They also have prototypes where data tags are put in the ears of cattle, then the drone flies over each animal and reads the data to see which ones are healthy and which ones are not well and need treatment. The drone also has the ability to apply spray for ticks and other pests. The drones are magnificent pieces of technology and are pretty cool-looking as well.
Technology – where is it heading and what does it mean for drag racing? Don Garlits, arguably the most influential racer in drag history, ran a 7.27@185 mph in an electric dragster in 2014. future? Could there Don’t be think an electric so, but you Pro never Slammer can car tell.